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Defense, Rebounding Allow Women’s Basketball to Hand #25 Firebirds First Loss

December 16th, 2023 by WCBC Radio

Frostburg State Women's Basketball team took down undefeated No. 25 District of Columbia by a score of 72-56 on Friday evening.

UDC got off to a quick 4-0 lead until graduate student Maggie Sharp knocked down a three to start FSU's offense. Nia Ford hit a jumper to go up by three, but shortly after, junior MacKenzie Freeze had a jumper of her own, then freshman Grace Middleton gave the Bobcats their first lead of the game as she had a fastbreak layup 7-6. A reciprocated fastbreak point for UDC put them back ahead before freshman Jenna Muha got the ball in her hands and made a post move for a layup with the lead trading hands. Sharp hit another three for a tie game at 12-12, then Frostburg got some defensive stops, holding the Firebirds without a field goal for the final 4:39, and earned a five-point lead as sophomore Emilee Weakley made a jumper and hit a free throw at 17-12. Junior Harley Herndon had back-to-back layups to end the quarter and take a 21-14 lead into the second.

It took two minutes for action to start in the second quarter, with neither team able to knock shots down. Graduate Ciara Thomas went two-for-two from the line for the first points of the period at the 8:15 mark. UDC came down the court fast, scoring a jumper in the paint to get within seven. Sharp then found Thomas wide open for a made three-pointer to get back to a double-digit Bobcat lead. Subs were made, a few baskets were scored on each end, and Muha hit shot from beyond the arc to put FSU up by nine 29-20. The Firebirds were able to get within six points with 30 seconds left in the half, but a last second three-pointer from Thomas would give FSU a nine-point lead going into the locker rooms at 37-28.

Once again play was a little slow to start the third frame, as Ford scored the only basket of the first three minutes for UDC to cut FSU's lead to seven 37-30. Sharp would advance the lead to ten after another good three-pointer, followed by Muha and freshman Alanna Tate hitting two layups in a row for a 14-point lead, 44-30. A couple scoreless minutes for Frostburg allowed UDC to get within six, with the visitors setting up a press that caused a number of turnovers. Freshman Mandy Roman subbed in and made a nice move to the basket for two to go back up by eight. In similar fashion to the first period, Frostburg's defense stood tall in the final minutes, with the Firebirds' only managing three points on free throws for the final 4:37. Herndon, Thomas, and Muha combined for FSU's last six points of the quarter, allowing the Bobcats to keep their lead and go into the fourth up 54-44. 

Going coast-to-coast, Thomas made a layup, then after two free throws from Muha, Roman had a steal which led to a successful layup for Middleton as the lead grew to 60-46 within the first minutea and a half of the fourth quarter. UDC got one point back, as Destiny Ryles went one for two from the line, then a stalemate of two minutes went by with the score remaining the same. Tate found the ball in the paint and created two points, with the Firebirds hitting two threes in a row but still trailing 62-53. Rowman hit junior Jasmine Johnson on the low block, making a strong post move, followed by hitting a free throw and a layup, adding three to the lead at 69-56. Middleton would end the scoring and the game as she hit two free throws, with the buzzer going off on a 72-56 FSU victory.

The scoirng wealth was shared this game, as at least six players scored more than five points. Muha and Thomas both ended with 14 points, the latter scoring her season-high, while Sharp and Middleton each contributed nine. Herndon was perfect from the field with three shots and six points, with Johnson adding five points, a game-high nine rebounds, and a pair of blocks. The Bobcats held a 50-24 advantage in rebounding, while holding the Firebirds to just a 36.1% clip from the field. 

With the victory, Frostburg moves to an overall record of 7-4, while UDC falls to 11-1. The Bobcats are back in action on Saturday, December 31 at 1 pm as they take on Bowie State in Bobcat Arena. For more information visit